Nigeria solid all round – Nthethe

FILE PICTURE: Ousmane keita (left) Lassana Diarra (center) and Azubuike Emmanuel Egwuekwe (right) during the 2014 African Nations Championship match between Mali and Nigeria at Cape Town Stadium on January 11, 2014 in Cape Town, South Africa. (Photo by Manus van Dyk/Gallo Images)

With two games already under his belt in the African Nations Championship competition, Bafana Bafana defender Thabo Nthethe has warned that Nigeria had little in the way of weaknesses.

“They play as a team, so we don’t need to focus only on one player as an individual,” Nthethe said ahead of Sunday’s crucial final group A tie at the Cape Town Stadium.

“We have to focus on every department, so we just need to do well in every department and compete with them.”
South Africa are top of their group, thanks to a superior goal-difference over Mali, but will need to avoid defeat against Nigeria on Sunday to progress to the next round.

Nigeria beat Mozambique 4-2 in the game after Bafana’s 1-1 draw with Mali on Wednesday, meaning the two sides will battle it out for the second qualification spot up for grabs in the group.

Nthethe, Bloemfontein Celtic captain and a stalwart in the Bafana defence, said he had enjoyed his last two outings with fellow centre-back Buhle Mkhwanazi and believed the pair had become part of a solid back row.

“I don’t think we did badly in these last two games. We’re listening to each other and we’re making sure that we do well and follow the coach’s instructions.

“Now we also need to make sure that, on our own, we shouldn’t concede. If we don’t concede, we have a big chance of winning the game.”

The lanky defender said Nigeria would pose a tough challenge for Bafana, pointing towards a 2-0 defeat against Stephen Keshi’s outfit when the teams last met in August last year.

“The last time we played them in Durban we lost 2-0. Bafana haven’t won any silverware for a long time, so we have to do well in this tournament.

“We’re at the stage where we don’t want to get a defeat, we only want to win our games and we want to do well in this tournament. We’re only looking for the win against Nigeria.”

Sapa

today in print